Monday, September 29, 2014

I The Lord Will Hasten it in His Time

Bonjour, tout le monde!  I hope you are having a great Monday morning when you read this and that you will have a great week too.  It's been a great week here in Nancy and today is the start of another new transfer. Pretty crazy how fast time goes.  After much suspense, transfer prophecies (we all try to guess who will be staying or going) and waiting for the repertoire on Saturday Morning we found out that all four of the Elders here in Nancy will be staying.  So we have another six weeks to find the people the Lord has prepared for us.  In addition to all of that there were some awesome experiences and some funny ones that I want to share with you.

The week started off with a great lesson with Alfred.  We were in the middle of teaching him the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson and on Monday we focused on Repentance and something just clicked in his head.  It was cool to watch him and he asked questions like, "You really believe that his works and if I repent I can be happier?" The spirit was there and testified that it was true and it made all the difference as we taught him.

The week continued with district meeting with pictures and a feast.  We made smoked chickens and potatoes and it was like a French Thanksgiving meal.  Then, I went on an exchange with Elder Ursua, who was at the MTC with me.  We had a great exchange with a few rendez-vous.   We were able to teach their amis, Jean-Claude and Marie, who were preparing for their baptism on Sunday.  Marie mentioned that she was afraid of water but it was lightly said and we moved on to the next topic.  Elder Ursua was baptizing Jean-Claude and Elder Pumford was baptizing Marie.  We were talking about who would go first and Marie said she would.  That is when we found out that her fear of water was more than just a little fear of water. For the next half hour we tried different ways to get her in the water and be baptized by immersion.  Even trying to get her off the steps was a challenge.
We decided to baptize Jean Claude first and let her see how easy it is.
Unfortunately Marie was unable to be baptized so please pray for Marie that she will have the ability to get baptized and conquer her fears so she can be confirmed after General Conference in a couple of weeks with her husband.

Sunday evening we went out porting to a ville about 30 minutes away from Nancy.  In the 2 hours we ported we met 4 families that said we could come back again and one of the families, a super cool young French family with two kids, were super fascinated by what we were doing there and touched that we would pray with them.  We can't wait to go back and talk more about the importance of families with them.

*Seeing all the recent converts and having an awesome rendez-vous with them.
*Teaching the Pierrel family again and seeing them progress.
*Had some member visits where we asked them to write their testimony in a Book of Mormon.

Tonight we are going to the L'Hormel family for FHE, which will be fun, and we are excited to watch General Conference this weekend.  To finish I just want to share a scripture that I found this morning in Isaiah.  I know it is true, especially for missionaries all around the world.  We are seeing success like never before.

Isaiah 60:22 "A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time."

I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve and be a part of this work.  We see miracles everyday.  I hope you all have a great week and have a missionary experience.  Till next week...

Love you...
Elder Player

Our French Thanksgiving Feast

Our District meeting with the number
of our transfers

We were in the MTC at the
same time and have been out 11 transfers

Place Stanislas at night

Monday, September 22, 2014

Members and Missionary Work

Salut tout le monde et Happy Monday.  I hope you have all had a great week and all had a missionary experience of some sort!  This was a great week in Nancy and very busy, as usual.  This week we were able to focus on working with members and it made for an awesome week that I want to share with you.

Monday, after P-Day, we were invited to to the the Young Single Adult FHE at the bishop's home.  We had an awesome spiritual thought, played games and had an American meal of hamburgers, fries, ice cream and coke!  It was delicious and super fun to talk to the young people and have them share how they were able to talk to their friends, invite them to activities, and share with them why they were a member.  It was cool to see the desire they had to share the gospel just by being themselves.  It was a great night and we got to know our bishop and his family better too.  (They're awesome!)

We also got to attend Ward council.  It was all about Missionary work and how they can help us.  We have some less active families that we can work on and we are going to rebuild the "Center of Geneology" now that the renovation is done and get members and amis involved in that.

Saturday we had tons attend the Saturday Sports and some of the YSA brought their friends.  We had a great morning getting to know them and their friends.  Later that night we had our missionary night that we have been planning for the last month and it went great!  As members arrived to the Nancy MTC they were taken to the bureau to receive further instructions from the call that they had got earlier in the week in the mail.  The letter told them to report to the MTC on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and they would be assigned there.  At the bureau the President of the mission and his wife, aka our ward mission leader and his wife, greeted them and gave them a tag and an envelope that assigned them to one of 4 missions.  After the opening segment each missionary was sent off with a companion to a classroom where they were taught by the missionaries (us).  They rotated through four different classes.  1) Teaching with the missionaries/members role in lessons 2) Talking to friends about the gospel 3) Using technology to share the gospel 4) Helping recent converts and amis feel welcome and help strengthen their testimonies  At the end the President talked to them and then we had some delicious refreshments.  It was an awesome night and the members seemed to love it!

Yesterday at church is was the ward picnic.  We got to eat and get to know them all better.  After last night we received lots of texts and messages from people asking us to come over for FHE's with amis and recent converts.  It was amazing to see their desire and willingness.  They just needed to know how to do it.  It was such a great week and I love these people more and more as I get to know them better.

We had a cool experience in Mulhouse.  We were able to meet cool people, while contacting, and meet an old ami of the missionaries that was really interested in hearing about the gospel again and going to church.
We were also able to meet the Mulhouse Elders and a family that got baptized this last weekend.  The Hoxja family is awesome and their desire to be members is incredible.

Seeing Johanna and Michel again and to hear that Johanna has read in the Book of Mormon every day since our last rendez-vous three weeks ago
Andre wants to be baptized in October - Yahoo!
Went to see Paolo, who wasn't home, but talked with his brother who was interested in our message
All you can eat Chinese Buffet to celebrate Elder Gram's one year mark

It was a great week and the Lord has helped us out a lot.  Even giving us the ability to wake up everyday at 6:30 a.m.  We will be finding out this Saturday about transfers - it's crazy how fast 6 weeks go!  Thanks for all your love and support.  Have a great week and know that I love you and miss you all!

Elder Player
Frasier ... My new favorite pastry!

Meet Elder Alexander

Full time missionaries in Nancy

Everyone getting their calls at the
Nancy MTC!

Missionary Night

Monday, September 15, 2014

To Reach a Goal Never Before Attained One Must Do Things Never Before Done

Bonjour tout le monde! I hope you have had a great week! It's continued to be another great week here in France and the Lord has continued to bless us! This past week has been pretty busy here and there is a lot to share...I'll try not to go overboard!

Tuesday we had district meeting here in Nancy  It was the first normal district meeting we have had this transfer.  After, I was able to go on exchange with Elder Sumsion to Epinal! I can't say a whole lot more than the word "awesome"! We had such a good time and Elder Sumsion is an awesome missionary and such a spiritual guy! We started off and ended the exchange doing contacting and man, did the Lord bless us with putting people in our path who were prepared to accept the message. One of my favorite contacts on Tuesday was that night after we had been out with a member teaching a recent convert. We were walking through the park along the river and met a man named Christophe. We did our introduction and started to testify of the Plan of Salvation and it went well but then he said he had to go. But after he started to walk off we wanted to give him a card with the website. He was 15 feet away and so we called for him and went and asked if we could give him a card. The card was a picture of the Book of Mormon and then he said, "You're Mormon?"  And that was when it all changed.  We then were able to talk to him for 20 mins about the Book of Mormon and explain what it was and it was so much better than a picture of the book.  H e accepted a copy of the BOM and said he'd read it!  It was so cool to see how the Book of Mormon has the power to change hearts and open people up to listen to the gospel! The next day was no different and we were able to have a nice run in the morning along the river, and we were able to meet more amazing people, including 2 families, who wanted to listen to us again.  we were able to set up other times to talk with them! Exchanges really do bring miracles!

Then Saturday and Sunday we were able to do another exchange with the Elders of Mulhouse and we had another great exchange. I was able to go with Elder Anderson who is in his last transfer.  Sadly our appointment fell through and so at the end of the night we had an hour left and decided we'd go out and go porting. We arrived at the tram stop, found a street we both felt good about and started porting. Everyone was nice but the first few houses weren't interested.  Then we met Marc and Martine.   Marc is a retired opticien and they had both just come back from doing a tour in the western United States.  Their trip included Zions National Park and most of southern Utah. They were super happy to talk to Americans and tell us about their trip and we were able to teach them about prayer, bless their home and give them a Plan of Salvation brochure.  They were really happy to have us and said that they would call keep your fingers crossed and we'll be praying!

On top of the two exchanges, Elder Gram and I had an awesome experience yesterday.  One of our appointments fell though but it just goes to show us that when a door closes a window opens.  (I guess you could say the rendez vous was our door but our window was even better)  We were walking down the road and started talking to this man and he said he knew of our church. We asked him what he knew and he said he was actually baptized about 15 years ago in the church. We asked what happened, and he said after his baptism, some things happened and he just didn't believe he could be forgiven for.  So, even with the happiness that the gospel had brought, all the friends he had, he left it behind thinking he was no longer welcome.  We testified that wasn't the case and that thanks to Christ there was nothing that you couldn't be forgiven of and that it was no mistake that we had met him in the road right then.  Claude continued to explain how he had seen other missionaries in the bus years back and wanted to talk to them but was scared of being judged by others on the bus so he just decided to wait till it happened again and then he could talk.  The Lord made sure that it did happen again and he wants to come back!  It was a super cool experience and we can't wait to see Claude this week and introduce him to the members and the bishop and help him come back! 

At the end of this week we  had our stake conference, which was here in Nancy. We had a session Saturday night from 4 to 6 and then on Sunday from 10:30 to 12:30.  Our stake includes Luxembourg and all of the north east of France.  That meant we had 10 missionaries that needed to stay someplace on Saturday night.  (Since the train wouldn't get them back early enough on Sunday morning)  So, Saturday night we had 14 elders who slept over in the 4 man apartment.  Suprisingly, we could have fit more!  (Haha)  It was quite the experience!  The conference was awesome and even President and Soeur Babin were able to speak and talk about member missionary work and then they had all of us fulltime missionaries stand up. There's about 30 for the stake and he said, "These are your new sons and daughters and we are asking you to help them fulfill their purpose!"   Man it was awesome and I'm so grateful for the Babins and all they do for us!

There is a little wrap up of a few of the things that happened this week.  To say the least, it was a great week and I'm sure it will continue!  I Love what President Babin wrote back to me today in his email, "Merci Elder Player. N'oubliez pas "Aujourd'hui est le 1er jour du reste de votre mission". Je vous encourage √† faire du reste de votre mission la plus belle exp√©rience de votre vie. "To reach a goal never before attained one must do things never before done.  To never forget that today is the first day of the rest of my mission and to make the rest of my mission the best experience of my life." The quote he shared really impressed me and just shows further that even when we are doing good, there is always something better waiting if we give it our all and leave our comfort zone.  I'm so happy to be here and thanks so much for all you do for me.  The letters, emails, pics, and packages you send mean alot! You're all the best and I wish you all a great week!
Love, Elder Player

Exchanges with Elder Sumsion
in Epinol

14 Elders in a 4 man apartment!

16 Elders ready for Stake Conference

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Lift Up Your Heart and Rejoice, for the Hour of Your Mission is Come!"

Bonjour!  Tout le Monde!  I hope you have had a great week.  This week has been one of the best on my mission.  I've been able to see so many amazing miracles and the Lord's hand in this work!  I'm not sure where to start so, I'm just going to jump right in with our two exchanges, zone conference and our miracle finding day!

Wednesday morning we took off for Versailles to do exchanges with Elder Davis and Elder Johnson.  We got to Paris about 12:00.  We had lunch, set goals and took off.  I was with Elder Davis (My trainer) and man, it was awesome!  He's such a great missionary!  On the first day of our mission we went to Consecration Hill and consecrated ourselves to missionary work for the next two years.  The day before going to Paris I read all of my goals that I had set that first day in Paris. I really wanted to go back but figured that would have to be after my mission but I was wrong.  We started the day by going up to Consecration Hill to do some contacting and met some awesome people.  One was a father and daughter that were super interested and we taught them a lesson on the street and set another appointment.  As we kept walking we met Rasu and started talking.  The spirit was so strong.  Rasu talked about how Christ had helped him so much in his life and a scripture came to mind.  So, we shared Mosiah 18:8-10:
     8)  "And it came to pass that he said unto them:  Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light:
     9)  Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all place that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life -
    10)  Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"

And then we asked what he had taken from that scripture, and he then shared that he was really trying to prepare to be baptized 'cause that was the desire of his heart and now the only two things that were stopping him were chewing tobacco and the lotto.  He didn't know if he could stop but he has the desire.  So, we explained that's why we are here and we knew he could stop these things and be baptized.  It was such a great contact and we were able to fix up another time to see him and then learned that he has a wife and a son.  Yay!  A family to teach!  When we arrived at Consecration Hill, which looks over downtown Paris with skyscrapers, the Eiffel Tower and an amazing chateau and cathedral with super cool gardens, we were able to meet 2 more people and teach them a lesson.  All of this in a couple of hours!  After dinner we didn't have any appointments so we set out for an area called Chatou, which is super nice with huge homes and wealthy French people, and started porting.  We received lots of "nos" but we did meet a few families that we were able to set another time to come back.  We got to a crossroads with about an hour left and decided to do a "pocket" prayer  (Prayer in the street) and ask where we should go.  We both felt we should go the same direction and started porting.  We knew it would take about 20 minutes to get home so we knew we could only go to one more home.  Ten homes later we met Mary Madeline, who was interested, and talked to us for about 20 minutes and we even had a prayer with her.  (I know that the Lord will never fail us if we keep going and endure to the end!)

Thursday we got up and headed for the mission home for Zone Conference.  It was great!  We were able to have four training sessions, from Sister Training Leaders, Zone Leaders, Assistants and President and Soeur Babin.  It was all focused on how we could become better teachers.  President and Soeur Babin are such inspired people and help us so much.  After the conference I went on an exchange with Elder Garcia to Epinal.  At 8:30 we hadn't eaten dinner and we're both starving but decided to keep going for 30 more minutes.  We prayed that we would meet someone in the last thirty minutes before going home!  The first person wasn't interested but the second person asked us, "Are you mormons?"  That's how we met Sebastian and Jean.  We were able to explain why we were there and then pray with them and teach them about the Plan of Salvation.  It was awesome and when we finished talking to them it was time to go back to the apartment and get something to eat!

Friday was a special day of "finding" in our mission.  We were able to combine with the Lyon mission and every thirty minutes from 9 to 9 we all stopped and prayed to find new amis!  Boy, did we!  We saw so many miracles and it was one of the funnest days I've had on my mission!  We made sure to do everything we could so we could expect miracles and people to be placed in our path.  From 10 to 6 we talked with every person we could and were able to teach the whole day.  We met so many amazing people and it was so fun.  We were ourselves and tried every way of contacting we could think of and it worked!  We met Phillipe, who is about 50, very French, and posed the 3 big questions of life to us.  He wanted to learn the answers and had been searching for some time.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation and how he could find peace and joy.  The spirit was so strong and at the end we were prompted to ask him if he'd be baptized if he came to know the truth and he said yes!  I know he was put in our path and was prepared to hear our message.  I'm hoping I'll get to teach him again this week when we do another exchange in Epinal. The day of "finding" was successful and fun.  What a great three days!

This morning I was reading my scriptures and read this in D&C 58:16..."Behold his (your) mission is given unto him (you) and it shall not be given again."  I am so grateful to be here and sharing the gospel.  There is nothing else I could do right now that would be better than these experiences I am having.  "Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come." (D&C 31:3) says it better than I ever could.
Thanks for all your love, support and emails.  Have a great week and "rejoice" with me for all the blessings that the Lord gives us!

Elder Player

Elder Ursua and Elder Pumford
The other two elders in our apartment

My companion, Elder Gram and me in
Stanislas Place-Lots of Gold!

Elder Davis and me on Consecration Hill

Elder Garcia and me in Epinal


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Trains, trains and more trains!

Bonjour & Happy Labor Day!  Hopefully you are all taking a nice break from your "labors" and enjoying a long weekend.  This week in Nancy has been great and we've had some awesome experiences.  We are so busy and I can see that this transfer is going to fly by!

We traveled by trains quite a bit this last week.  We started with District meeting in Strasbourg.  This is a large city right on the French/German border and I've wanted to go there my whole mission.  The meeting was great and we learned about how we can become more "consecrated" missionaries.  I liked a quote that President Babin shared... "Going from good to better is repentance but going from better to best is consecration!"  We were able to talk about how we can continue to improve and become the missionaries that the Lord needs.  Consecration is a process - not something that comes overnight - it takes time, effort and persistence but it will come.  It was a time for me to reflect on how much I've grown in the last two years.  It's crazy to see the changes in all aspects of my life since I started college in 2012!  I love seeing how the gospel changes lives and I'm so grateful for how it has changed mine!

As the week continued I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Stoker, who's from Utah, in his 14th transfer.  He's an awesome missionary.  We stayed in Nancy and got to do contacting, teaching on bridges, porting and teaching our amis!  One of the highlights was when we were porting and asked the Pierrel family to pick a road for us to go and port.  They gave us a rue(street) and we got busy.  We only had 45 minutes and every house we went to said no until the last one.  A young girl, about 20, answered and when we asked if we could pray with her and her family she said she was just leaving and no one else was home but to come back in two days.  Elder Gram and I went back in two days and another girl answered from the window. We introduced ourselves and asked for the girl with blonde hair and explained that she had said to come back tonight.  Another girl came to the door and we started wondering if it was a sorority house or something but finally the mom came to the door and said thanks for coming by but we're were not interested. As we left we asked how many daughters she had (four) and left her with a Family Proclamation Brochure.

Thursday we finished the exchange with Strasbourg and in the afternoon we took off for Colmar which was about an hour and a half by train.  Elder Tidwell and Elder Johnson were waiting for us with "Pain au Chocolats" in hand. (Yum!)  For the next 24 hours I got a chance to do an exchange with Elder Johnson, who I trained, and it was great!  We went out and walked quite a ways to a very nice neighborhood and we ported for a few hours.  We were able to plant a lot of seeds for future missionaries and we found a huge cornfield right next to the homes.  Small cities are pretty cool!  The next morning we went out and did some contacting and taught a man on the road about prophets and how we have a living prophet today.  The spirit was strong and he was touched.  Hopefully, he'll remember the day that two Mormon missionaries in white shirts talked about prophets and want to hear more.  Elder Johnson is an awesome missionary and it was fun to work with him again.

Marie-line that was baptized last week was confirmed on Sunday and she was beaming from ear to ear. Michel and Johanna came to church yesterday (YES!) and loved it.  Michel mentioned that we had only been to their home once last week and said how much he likes it when we come because everything is better. It felt like something was missing last week and it just wasn't good!  It was cool to see how he could recognize the difference the gospel was making in his life.  I can't wait to see them get baptized.  I can't explain how much I love the people here.  I have only been here a couple of weeks and they already feel like family.

This coming week I get to go on an exchange with Elder Davis, who trained me, and that should be great. It's been almost a year since we were able to work together and we'll be working in Versailles!  On Thursday we have Zone Conference with President and Soeur Babin and are doing another exchange with the Elders in Epinal.  I'm looking forward to another busy week.  I'm loving it here in Nancy and feel so blessed to be here. Thanks for all your emails and prayers - they are felt.  Have a great week and know that I love and miss you all!

Elder Player

Sunset from our 12th Floor apartment in Nancy!

Look who we found in Strasbourg...
President Bertrand from Rouen!

Amazing city of Colmar

Cornfields in Colmar
Elder Johnson and me!